Tom Regan, who retired from fighting fires for a living in New York City to fight them as a volunteer in Garden City Park, died Thursday at St. John's Hospital in Roslyn. He was 80.

The cause was an injury he suffered while responding to a carbon-monoxide alarm during an ice storm on Jan. 26, said Garden City Park Fire Chief William Rudnick.

Regan slipped while getting into his car at his Garden City Park home, Rudnick said. Regan was on his way to meet other firefighters at a Garden City Park fire station.

Regan served as a deputy chief in the New York Fire Department in charge of the 12th Division overseeing elite rescue companies, Rudnick said.

In Hillside Heights Engine Company Three of the Garden City Park Fire Department, he advised on training and tactics. For most retirees, that would have been enough. But Regan, who was fond of two-hour workouts and clocked a leisurely 10-mile run most days, never stopped fighting fires.

"He was one of a few old-time firemen who just knew it and lived it breathed it. He was the real deal," Rudnick said.

How real? "About five, six years ago, I was in a basement fire," Rudnick said. "I remember being on my hands and knees because it was hot and smoky, and we've got the (breathing apparatus) on. And he's standing there, smoking a cigar, asking me what I was doing on the floor."

Regan is survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter, Rudnick said.

Viewing is Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Dalton Funeral Home, 29 Atlantic Ave. in Floral Park. The funeral is Saturday at 9:15 a.m. at Notre Dame Roman Catholic Church in New Hyde Park, followed by burial in St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Since the early 1900s, dozens of firefighters in Long Island have died in the line of duty.

With Yamiche Alcindor

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